A wildfire burning south of Talkeetna is now between 200–300 acres in size, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.

According to officials on Thursday, the fire is 0% contained but crews have surrounded the perimeter with retardant, which will allow them to head into the fire to containment.

The update was issued just before 7:30 p.m. from AK Fire Info. A separate update around 7 p.m. stated a "Level 1: Ready" evacuation alert has been issued for residents in the Montana Creek area. While it is not an evacuation order, people are encouraged to be ready to evacuate if necessary.

Beth Ipsen, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service, said fire crews are still doing an initial attack and working to subdue the fire. 

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DOF estimated the fire's size to be around 70 acres at 5 p.m. According to AK Fire Info, the fire was first reported at 2:53 p.m. Wednesday. The Alaska State Troopers said in an online dispatch that the wildfire was reported near Montana Creek.

A task force of engines, the Baker River Hotshots and smokejumpers were on their way to the fire. Maureen Clark with AK Fire Info said multiple tankers, a helitack crew, helicopter and water scooping aircraft also responded to the scene. 

(Photo: Courtesy Holly Sheldon Lee)

According to AK Fire Info, the fire was burning approximately 2 1/2 miles east of the Parks Highway, south of the Talkeetna cutoff and east of Montana Creek Road. Clark said the fire is not accessible by road.

A Facebook post from the American Red Cross of Alaska said an emergency evacuation center at the Upper Susitna Senior Center, located at 16463 E Helena Drive, has opened to assist residents affected by the Montana Creek fire.

AK Fire Info said that no evacuation order has been issued, but some residents have chosen to leave the area voluntarily. 

"All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, everyone is welcome, and the center will remain open until further notice," the post said.


(Photo: Google Maps)

AST has asked people to avoid the area if possible and to give emergency responders space to work. Road blocks are to be expected, according to a recent alert.

"Troopers are working to minimize traffic in Montana Creek fire area. This is a dynamic, developing situation," the alert reads.

The latest update from the DOF says that no structures have been lost and no injuries have been reported at this time. 

In an update from Mat-Su Emergency Management, the evacuation alert has been elevated to level 2 due to the fire shifting directions. Emergency management says the alert is not an evacuation order but they are asking residents in the area to be prepared if evacuation is necessary.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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